King emphasizes the fact that one must follow just laws to avoid anarchy and respect the rights of other human beings. However, he and others have a “moral responsibility” to fight against unjust laws for the benefit of society. He states that individual “who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law” as they are adjusting the basic intent of the law to realign with its moral law through the form of civil disobedience. It is important to note that this view is not ‘new’ or radical according to King. Legality is a very arbitrary term within a historical context as King points out that what the Nazi’s did was legal while what the “Hungarian freedom fighters did in Hungary was "illegal.
He believed that in order to be a good ruler he must enforce rules and make just punishments to keep his subjects respecting him. Creon thought that having strong authority and leadership were more important than showing understanding and compassion. These two ideas clash and both characters have difficulties seeing one another’s perspectives. I believe that in order to solve this dilemma involving these diverse ideas that King Creon should have listened to other viewpoints than just his own. Antigone had told him that she believed that what she did was morally correct in her eyes.
Those who fall outside of this category would therefore believe that we are not bound over to obey the law and that in fact we should be morally obliged to disobey any law that we consider to be immoral. There is however a problem with this situation, in so much as it relies on appealing to a set moral code to justify our actions and such a moral code is merely an abstracted system of laws. I believe that we can be morally justified in disobeying laws, which we consider to be immoral and there are several reasons for this. I believe that it is only possible to happily live in accordance with our own moral code, it may also be possible to live without too much dissatisfaction within the bounds of laws, which dictate a stricter moral code than our own. However I do not believe that it is possible to happily exist under a system of law whereby we are obliged at times to break our own code of morality.
King viewed civil disobedience as an obligation if laws were unjust, especially if the proponents of the unjust laws were not willing to negotiate as well as compromise the laws and situations. King states “You are quite right in calling for negotiation.
Accordingly, while admitting that it is reasonable and necessary to disobey unjust laws undermines the interests of the pubic, we should also recognize the value of laws, deeply respect it and behave strictly as the just laws. Otherwise, a society without the limitation of laws would undoubted come into disorder and chaos. In conclusion, it is indeed every one’s responsibility to respect and obey just laws. But whether to disobey unjust laws calls for a prudent consideration about whether it is for any higher purpose.
Antigone serves as a threat to the status quo. She gives up her life out of her commitment to principles above human law—moral law. Creon believes that the laws created by the King must be obeyed no matter how big or small they are. Creon argues that the law created by the King is the platform for justice. On the other hand, Antigone feels that there are unjust laws, despite who made them.
In Scene 1, Antigone suggests that her act of rebellion is acceptable by opposing Creon and supporting her brother. Antigone “den[ies] nothing” (i.ii.116), and is willing to die in respect of her brother. Her bold statement implies that family is a substantial reason to break the law. Despite the troubles her family has caused her, Antigone remains loyal to her family members. She makes impulsive actions to uphold her family’s honor.
Political laws help determine what is just and unjust to prevent the chaos that might occur if everyone did what they think is right. Kreon and Antigone exhibit both their negative and positive qualities throughout the play. Antigone is a strong, courageous character and she has no fear towards death. She believes that the burial of Eteokles must take place because she loves her brother, and family royalty is very important to her. For example she says: "I love my brother and I'm going to bury him, now."
His argument using classical natural law theory at first seems to be a valid and necessary defense for breaking the law, i.e. disobeying segregation laws and orders to not march. Most people are initially supportive of his argument that an unjust law is not a law he can or should obey. King's comment that "one has a moral responsibility to obey just laws...one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws" (Letter, p3) therefore appears to justify his actions. However, a rational analysis makes apparent several difficulties associated with this argument.
The Distance Between Morality and Luck In the moral realm, I tend to align my intuitions with Kantian morality, forming a very strict interpretation of those actions which carry moral worth. As one who believes that the world is not governed by determinism, I place a great deal of emphasis on moral evaluation. This is why I find Nagel’s Moral Luck article so troubling. Nagel describes a concept which, if accurate, completely undercuts our conception of morality, disabling the ability to apply moral worth to decisions. I find, however, that one can tackle his dilemma and reveal holes in his argument in a manner that would allow us to uphold the concept of morality and moral evaluation in the world.